E3 2014: Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- Gives Me a Hard Rock Anime Flashback

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Guilty Gear takes me back, back to my friend’s basement, my college dorm room, and my first apartment. Bridget's Simple Life theme music still echoes in my mind, and I fondly remember going toe-to-toe against my friend's Ky with my Millia. While it wasn't the first fighting game I ever played, Guilty Gear, and the games that followed, made me appreciate the complexity--the nuance--that can only be found in the fighting genre. Needless to say, I'm glad it's back.

Playing the oddly named Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- felt very familiar. Despite giving the Guilty Gear series a fresh new look, this game's underlying mechanics felt instantly recognizable to someone familiar with the series. The pacing of the fight, certain attacks and combos, even specific sound effects all brought with them a touch of nostalgia. Granted, I only had time to play two rounds, so I can't dive much deeper into the nuts and bolts, but suffice it to say this is Guilty Gear as you remember it.

PS3 and PS4 players can fight each other online.
PS3 and PS4 players can fight each other online.

In between my matches, I had time to speak with Daisuke Ishiwatari, chief creative officer of developer Arc System Works and father of the Guilty Gear series. When asked how working on a fighting game today compares to working on the original Guilty Gear series, Ishiwatari explained that this new Guilty Gear is, in many ways, a return to the series' roots--its foundation--from which the team can build upon and layer on greater complexity.

I also asked Ishiwatari about Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-'s single-player offerings. He confirmed that the team has some big plans for how they want to expand the story mode in this game. As for other amenities, such as mission mode and training mode, all he would say is that we can expect something similar to what this series has done in the past.

After that, I had to actually play the game in front of Ishiwatari, which felt not unlike hopping into a car with a NASCAR racer and driving straight into a wall. It's been a while, and my Guilty Gear is a little rusty. Hopefully I'll get it straightened out before Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- is released later this year on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

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